Idris Tawfiq
The Egyptian Gazette
October 21, 2011

In many countries, especially in the West, Muslims are now looked upon with fear and suspicion, as though they are not really a part of the communities in which they live. The Muslim veil, far from being the beautiful garment of modesty and piety as Muslims see it, is regarded as a symbol of some strange, foreign religion. Young Muslim men wearing a beard are seen as fanatics or extremists, and are stopped and searched on the street as possible terrorists. Even politicians now speak about Islam and Muslims as though they are a hidden enemy within the country, who have to be watched very carefully.

On the other hand, what many Muslims see in the news is also very disturbing. The tragedy that has been played out before all of our eyes in Iraq and Afghanistan, ever since the United States and its allies invaded those countries, and the daily oppression of ordinary men, women, and children in Palestine, leave many Muslims wondering what it is that so many people have against Islam. Since the so-called War on Terror was linked very clearly to Islam and Muslims, they ask if the world really does hate Islam.

It is a simple fact that most people in the West who are not Muslim do not have much experience of Islam. How could they? The only information they get about Islam and Muslims is what they see on the television news, or in the newspaper. Newspapers, though, don’t run headlines about people trying to be good. The television news carries stories about explosions and wars and violence.

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